Four sister alumnae, Jessica, Jennifer, Jacquelyn and Joanna Vanderpool (classes of ’03, ’04, ’06 and ’07 respectively), have taken regular vacations organized around the Olympic games. While only Jessica and Jennifer were able to attend the games in Athens, Greece, three of the sisters attended the winter olympics in Vancouver (2010) and the summer games of 2012 in London.
Attending the Vancouver Olympics was an easy decision because of its proximity; however, the London games required more planning but benefited from a previous NNU experience abroad. “My sister Jennifer actually took a trip to London with the University when she was a student here,” says Joanna Vanderpool, who now works to administrate NNU’s concurrent credit program. “When she learned that the Olympics were going to be held in London, she said we just had to go.”
Their stop at the games was part of a larger tour of Europe that began in France and Italy for 10 days and ended with a week in London. “We were in Piccadilly Circus while the opening ceremonies were going on, so we watched it on the screen and then walked down to Trafalgar Square,” says Joanna. “There’s a large national monument, Nelson’s Column, with lion statues around it. People from all over the world were there, carrying their flags and taking pictures of each other. The whole area was bustling with people.”
The three sisters attended two events in London: a beach volleyball match at the Horse Guards Parade and a tennis match at Wimbledon. Of these two, Joanna says that volleyball was her favorite. “I liked the volleyball because it was right there by Buckingham Palace and at the Horse Guards Parade; you could see Big Ben and the London Eye.” She said that both Olympics were unique and very special times–that the environment is always energetic and enjoyable.
While there, they were also able to participate in a classic part of British culture—high tea. “They bring out this huge tea pot with scones, little desserts and sandwiches, and they just keep bringing more to you. At first, I didn’t really want to go because it’s rather expensive, but it was one of the best experiences afterall.”
What’s next for the Vanderpool sisters? Russia and Brazil, of course!
“We always like to go because they are areas that are sometimes hard to travel to if you don’t have a reason. So, yeah, I think we’re looking at Rio de Janeiro and Sochi.”
Tell us your Olympic adventure by leaving a comment below!